In Matthew 6:3, we are told to not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing when we do good works.
Is it right to accept honors ifthey are given to use for doing good works? Is it even right to appreciate these honors? I am speaking of any kind of honor, religious or not, for doing anything good/noble/honorable/etc. If it is not right to seek glory for what one has done, is it not wrong even to appreciate it when it is given to one? Ifit is not right to appreciate it when it is given, should the one giving it be giving it at all?
Also, what of the saints? Does not the Church honor them for their character/good/heroic works?
Does not God even speak of honoring us for the good we do in giving us “crowns” (in the Apocalypse), though, ultimately, we lay them at His feet?
If it is all right to give/receive honor for good works, what is the difference in attitude between this and that which is described in Matthew 6:3?
Now, I, personally, have always seen the difference as one of pride vs. appreciation. In Matthew 6:3, it seems that the people who are in the wrong are those who would seek honor/recognition as the primary goal of their charity whereas those who would receive and even, to some degree, desire honor for their good works of whom I am speaking are those who appreciate being acknowledged for the good they do for others in an appreciating manner.
I have even been fine with people speaking of their good works, at least if it is in a spirit of joy in having been able to do them and not in a spirit only to desire self-aggrandizement. However, does Christ, in our passage in question, even prohibit this? Could ti be a near occasion of the sin of pride of which He speaks? As a classicist, in this instance, I might cite an instance where the Emperor Augustus wrote very directly that, under his reign, he transformed the beauty of the city of Rome. Now, if he did this in a spirit of “hey, look at me! look at me! I’m awesome!”, that might be something to be frowned upon, but, if it were done in a spirit of pride in his accomplishments in terms of what he did for his people, perhaps it would be permitted to make such statements about oneself?
Is this a proper way of understanding Matthew 6:3, or is this really a matter of semantics and is there really no distinction between either attitude? Should we, then, in all circumstances be as quiet as we can about our good works and seek not at all to be honored for them and even not to desire/appreciate/like honors when they come?